More Aussie trailblazing adorns this year’s Venice Film Festival as Exile Entertainment and Small Village Films West of Sunshine is slated to compete for the Orizzonti Prize! Check out the press release below!
Melbourne feature film West of Sunshine to compete for
The Orizzonti Prize at Venice Film Festival
West of Sunshine, the debut feature film from award-winning Melbourne director Jason Raftopoulos, will world premiere in the Orizzonti section of the 74th Venice Film Festival this September. In a prestigious selection of new trends in cinema, parallel to the main Competition, West of Sunshine will compete for the The Orizzonti Prize and The Special Orizzonti Jury Prize.
Produced by Alexandros Ouzas (Plague) through his company Exile Entertainment in association with Raftopoulos’ Small Village Films, West of Sunshine is based on Raftopoulos’ short film Father’s Day which won the Silver Remi Award at the 45th Worldfest Houston International Film Festival, won Best Film and Best Screenplay at the Swinburne University Student Film Awards 2010 and was in Official Selection at the St Kilda Film Festival.
In a style reminiscent of Italian neorealism, the film was shot entirely on location in the streets of Melbourne over 18 days using a combination of professional and non-actors. The result is a compelling and contemporary exploration of addiction, love and connection as a father grows increasingly desperate to pay back a debt to a loan shark, while looking after his young son.
AACTA Best Actor-nominated Damian Hill (Pawno) plays central character Jim opposite his real life step-son Tyler Perham in his stunning screen debut. Both will travel to Venice with writer/director Jason Raftopoulos and producer Alexandros Ouzas to present the film.
West of Sunshine also stars Kat Stewart (Offspring) and Tony Nikolakopoulos (Head On). Composers are Golden Globe® winning composer Lisa Gerrard (Gladiator) and James Orr. Director of Photography is Thom Neal and Editor is Paul Rowe. The film received production investment from Screen Australia.
“West of Sunshine is a metaphor for Jim’s life. It’s a place where the sun never sets, the place in your mind where family is, where love is, where hope and the future resides,” said writer/director Jason Raftopoulos. “I’m humbled and honored that a film inspired by Italian neorealist filmmaking will have its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival. This film was made with sheer passion, a love for cinema, and the generous collaboration of those who believed in the project. I want to thank the selectors of the Venice Film Festival, Screen Australia and the talented people who worked on and supported the film.”
Producer Alexandros Ouzas said “There is no better place to launch our film than in Venice, the heart of Europe. We shot this film on the streets of Melbourne and our production team features many heads of department in their first feature film. This is a film that is continuing to punch above its weight and we’re excited to see just how far it will go.”